Dark History of Monsanto
Monsanto is one of the largest pharmaceutical and agricultural companies that producers genetically modified foods and seeds, drugs, chemicals, pesticides and herbicides. This multibillion dollar company has other branches in 100 different countries and is the main producer of genetically modified crops and seeds in the world.
Monsanto has been around since 1901 and makes billions of dollars profit a year. In the last 110 years of its dark existence Monsanto has been destroying the environment by releasing all kinds of pollutions, toxic chemicals and feeding the world hunger with its genetically modified foods and seeds. For many Monsanto is among many other multinational companies who represents greed, ignorance and injustice. In 1977 Monsanto sold its chemical business and got heavily engaged in producing genetically modified corn, soybeans and biotechnology.
Here is a summary of Monsanto’s dark existence:
The founder of Monsanto was John Francis Queeny and he started Monsanto with the capital from Coca-Cola in 1901. In 1902 Monsanto sold its first product called “Saccharin” (the artificial sweetener) to Coca-Cola Company. By 1905 Monsanto began to make profits by selling vanillin and caffeine. In 1906 the US governments started regulating and inspecting meat products but somehow even up to today these multibillion dollar companies like ConAgra and Monsanto are exempt from regulations since they pay and make donations for research facilities, schools and even USDA framework. During WW2 Francis Queeny couldn’t import chemicals from Europe and stared manufacturing its own chemical products. In 1929 Monsanto went public and became the largest producer of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Although PCBs were banned in 1970s they still remain in water along Dead Creek in Sauget where Monsanto had its plant for manufacturing PCBs. PCBs were widely used as lubricants, cutting oils and hydraulic fluids until there were scientific evidences that PCBs are one of the deadliest carcinogens and chemicals that can cause immune system disorder, birth defects, cancer and fatal death. The first manufacturing plant of PCBs was in Illinois that has the highest rate of immature birth and fatal death. However Monsanto knew the risk and dangers of PCBs from early on but couldn’t afford to lose business when it was making money at the time.
In 1935 Monsanto gets involved in detergents and soap production and by 1938 Monsanto becomes largely involved in plastic business. From 1939 to 1945 Monsanto did a lot of research on enriching uranium for Manhattan project. During WW2 Monsanto was involved in the creation of the first nuclear bomb in Manhattan project and was involved in production of PCBs, DDT and chemical weapons that was sprayed on the Vietnamese civilians and American troops during Vietnam War. In 1945 Monsanto used chemicals, pesticides and herbicides in agriculture so by 1955 Monsanto could increase its assets by 50%. From 1975 to 1967 Monsanto was involved in creation of several Disney land’s attraction that was entirely built by non biodegradable plastic. When Disney decided to tear them down they couldn’t even break it by chain saws and shovels so they had to squeeze big pieces of these non biodegradable plastic into a truck.
From 1961 to 1971 Monsanto was involved in production of Agent Orange for the military use in Vietnam War. Using Agent Orange caused severe health problems for the Vietnamese citizens as well as the US military. More than 4.8 million Vietnamese civilians were contaminated with Agent Orange where 400,000 died or suffered from disabilities and half a million children suffered from birth defects.
In 1968 Son of John Queeny; Edgar Queeny dies and since he didn’t have any heirs Edward J. Block who joined Monsanto as an engineer becomes president. By 1972 the use of DDT was banned by congress and in 1973 Monsanto developed glyphosate molecule for killing weeds and roots and marketed it as safe, although glyphosate is toxic for both human beings and animals. Monsanto called this product “Roundup” which was marketed to 115 different countries. After selling Roundup Monsanto’s sales grew by 20% and from 1980s to 1990s Roundup made 45% of the company’s income. Even up to today glyphosate is one of the herbicides on the market that sells pretty well. In 1985 Monsanto bought Searle Company which was the producer of artificial sweetener called aspartame used in carbonated beverages. Aspartame is a dangerous toxic substance added to replace sugar and is much cheaper than sugar. In 1987 Monsanto did its first test on genetically modified crops. After making billions of dollars by 1987 Monsanto had to pay 180 million dollars settlement to the veteran of Vietnam War exposed to Agent Orange; however no compensation was paid to Vietnamese civilians that were severely affected by this agent.
By 1994 the first biotech product of Monsanto called rBGH and rBST were released into the market. Use of Posilac bovine somatropin (rBST/rBGH) which is injecting hormones to livestock was approved by FDA. In 1995 the genetically modified canola oil was shipped to Canada and 80% of acres of farm lands today are genetically modified canola. By 1995 Monsanto was ranked 5th among other US corporation on releasing 37 million pounds of toxic chemicals to the environment based on the EPA report. As Monsanto started focusing more on biotechnology it expanded its genetically modified crops and seeds into feeding the world hunger. Monsanto came up with a new genetically modified crop that was resistant to the Roundup agent called glyphosate! This meant the farmers could use Roundup weed killer now during the growing season without hurting the crops.
With inventing genetically modified crops and Roundup now Monsanto had the upper hand in the market. By 1997 Monsanto has three new genetically modified seeds called GMO canola, GMO cotton and GMO corn and bought seed companies. Based on Monsanto’s claims Roundup is environmentally friendly and biodegradable, however in 1997 a New York state attorney took Monsanto to court to stop calling Roundup environmentally safe. At the same time Seattle times also reported that Monsanto sold Idaho fertilizer companies 6000 tons of wastes full of contaminants, carcinogens and heavy metals that are root of kidney failure, cancer and nervous system disorder. From 1997 to 2002 Monsanto became giant in biotechnology and at the same time they spent 10 billion dollars worldwide to buy seeds companies.
Today Monsanto is the largest seed company in the world dominating the global seed market. By 1998 the Roundup Ready corn was ready to be marketed. In 2001 Monsanto owned 91% of GMO crops worldwide. In 2002 Monsanto agreed to drop lawsuit against DuPont Company and instead work with DuPont in sharing the technology of their genetically modified crops. In 2002 because of the depression in Argentina Monsanto lost 154 million dollars. In 2006 organic farmers who were concerned with the impacts of GMO alfalfa sued Monsanto. In 2007 the use of rBGH and hormones were widely increased in livestock. However by 2010 the demand for dairy products without use of synthetic hormones increased by 500%. Since most of the American dairy products come from cows that are injected with hormones, Monsanto’s lobbyists aggressively push for their anti-labeling policies so consumers cannot distinguish between farmed milk or milks that contain hormones. Today Monsanto owns 80% of genetically modified crops and the sales of Roundup have made Monsanto the 5th largest agrochemical company in the world. With US holdings 30% of world’s market share for wheat Monsanto came out with a new product called “Roundup Ready wheat”.
The power of these multibillion dollar companies come to picture when the US wouldn’t even sell Iran commercial airplanes where hundreds of innocent civilians die every year. But despite all the sanctions the United States is selling Iran genetically modified wheat. It might also be interesting to many that Michael Taylor was appointed as senior adviser to the commissioner at FDA by president Obama. Michael Taylor is the Monsanto‘s VP and chief lobbyist who was Monsanto’s attorney before he became FDA commissioner. Michael Taylor was the one in charge of FDA policy when the genetically modified foods and seeds were allowed into the US food supply before performing a single test on GMOs side effects on human beings. This is when even FDA scientists were seriously concerned about genetically modified organisms’ side effects in our food supply. So they released secret documents and memos after memos warning about nutritional deficiencies, new diseases, allergies and unknown side effects of these GMOs in our food supply. But obviously Monsanto was very well aware that all these so called scientists and nutritionists cannot stand on their way because the head of FDA policy maker is Monsanto’s VP and wouldn’t sacrifice Monsanto’s profit margin that easily.